Thursday, July 21, 2011

The concord of human relations

The following quote comes from John Murray's book Principles of Conduct. While John Murray can occasionally make the easiest things difficult to understand, at the same time he always manages to come up with some brilliant insights on the subject he’s discussing. In the following quote he’s discussing personal discord and the Sixth commandment:

"The sixth commandment is but one concrete way of expressing the principle that human life, in all its aspects and in all its re­lationships, must be guarded and promoted. Have we sufficiently appreciated the fact that, in a sinless world, there would have been no 'against'? The essence of sin is comprehended in the word 'against'. Sin is first of all against God and because we are against God we are against our fellowman. It is an eloquent witness to this fact that, after the first sin of our first parents, the first overt sin in the realm of ethics that is brought to our attention in the Scripture is the sin of Cain in slaying his brother Abel. 'Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him' (Genesis 4: 8). The first sin of our first parents was against God; the sin of Cain was 'against' his brother. It is this 'against' that the sixth commandment condemns and its positive counterpart is that we 'take all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life and the life of others'. The opposite of 'against' is concord, harmony, peace, and love. And the demand of love is no less than that we love our enemies (cf. Matthew 5: 44). We are to love those who are 'against' us. The 'against' on one side does not abrogate the requirement of love on the other; one 'against' does not justify another. It is nothing less than this that Jesus' interpretation and application of the sixth commandment exemplify. Could our Lord's ethic of human relations, summed up in the words, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, have come to more concrete and relevant expression than in his teaching here respecting the sixth commandment? The principle that undergirds the sixth commandment is the sanctity of life. Our Lord shows the endless ramifications of that principle and pushes his analysis to the source and fountain of its preservation and violation. The spring of its preservation is the agreement of love; the root of its violation is the rudimentary feeling of unholy enmity, the disruptive imagina­tion of the thought of the heart whereby the concord of human relations is desecrated. The teaching of our Lord is to the effect that the sixth commandment brings within its purview tin enmity of the heart and all unnecessary and unholy dispute which fans the embers of animosity."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nehemiah's Nursery

Nehemiah's Nursery
By: Voddie Baucham

If you’ve walked into a church service lately with a baby in your arms, chances are you are well aware of the new anti-child atmosphere that dominates much of the modern American church. There are smiling men and women stationed at every door ready to “guide” you to the nursery where your child will “have a very enjoyable experience” and be cared for by the best childcare staff in the history of the universe.

Rebuff these helpful people and their smiles will soon be replaced with determined glares. Things escalate slowly at first, but eventually the truth comes out. These people are not here to help you and your child; they are here to protect the sanctity of the sanitized worship environment. Their job is to see that you –and people like you—don’t ruin the service for everyone else...Read More at NCFIC

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Divided the Movie" Watch it free!

Divided the Movie, watch it absolutely free for a limited time at http://dividedthemovie.com

The Story Behind Divided
The Background:

Young filmmaker, Philip Leclerc, notices that the youth of his generation are abandoning the faith. He sets out on a journey to discover the truth about modern youth ministry, with this question in mind: “Is it an issue with the church, the kids, the parents?”

The Journey:

Interviewing youth, youth ministry experts, and pastors and understanding the history of age-segregated youth ministry, Leclerc learns that modern youth ministry is not founded upon the Word of God but upon the ideas of men. As a result, youth ministries are noticing a widespread youth exodus as kids abandon the faith for the world.

The Solution:

Conformity to the Scriptures and the blessing of God are the keys to rescuing youth. The Scripture does identify the way to reach the next generation with the gospel — biblical discipleship. Through his journey, Leclerc asks questions, tackles problems, and discovers that the Bible is sufficient for the area of youth ministry: both in the content as well as in the methodology.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lascivious Temptresses

"If lustful looking be so grievous a sin, then those who dress and expose themselves with desires to be looked at and lusted after...are not less, but even more guilty. In this matter it is only too often the case that men sin, but women tempt them so to do. How great, then, must be the guilt of the great majority of the modern misses who deliberately seek to arouse the sexual passions of our young men. And how much greater still is the guilt of most of their mothers for allowing them to become lascivious temptresses."

-A.W. Pink The Sermon on the Mount,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sanctified Afflictions

"Christ chiefly manifests Himself to the Christian in times of affliction because then the soul unites itself most closely by faith to Christ. The soul in time of prosperity, scatters its affections and loses itself in the creature, but there is a uniting power in sanctified afflictions by which the soul (as in rain the hen collects her brood) gathers his best affections unto his Father and his God."

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)

Monday, June 6, 2011

You are Dumb and Stupid

"Accept Suffering from God with un­questioning submission. Whatever you do and think, especially in times of suffering, when you are an afflicted Christian, do not, if you believe, sit in judgment on your life and actions; otherwise you will go wrong. You are dumb, stupid, you are being tried and held captive, and you cannot speak aright about your affairs or pass judgment on them. You are told to "wait on the Lord" (Ps. 27:14). And do not be offended; do not murmur and despair. For you are not giving your actions and afflictions the proper name. Your judgment is false, your talk is wrong, your wisdom is fool­ishness. For the will of God is that the old man be destroyed and the flesh mor­tified. However, while this is being done, the flesh speaks falsely and judges fool­ishly. . . . But the spirit conquers and draws this conclusion: What God has in mind with these plans I do not under­stand, neither do I desire to know it; but I shall bear the hand of the Lord and say: Thou art my God, Thy promise and Word remain forever."

- Martin Luther

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Spectacles of Scripture

"Just as old or bleary-eyed men and those with weak vision, if you thrust before them a most beautiful volume, even if they recognize it to be some sort of writing, yet can scarcely construe two words, but with the aid of spectacles will begin to read distinctly; so Scripture, gathering up the other wise confused knowledge of God in our minds, having dispersed our dullness, clearly shows us the true God."


-John Calvin in the Institutes of the Christian Religion
(Book 1, Chapter 6)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sound Doctrine and Godly Deportment

From The Doctrine of Revelation
by A.W. Pink
Studies in the Scriptures January, 1947

"...2 Timothy 3:16-17 mentions some of the principal uses and values, which the sacred Scriptures possess for us; and the first mentioned is that they are "profitable for doctrine." There is an inseparable connection between doctrine and deportment: our convictions mould our characters; what we believe largely determines how we act—"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Pro 23:7). To be soundly indoctrinated and to be well grounded in the Truth is one and the same thing; and nothing but the Truth operating in the soul will preserve from error—either theoretical or practical. Of the primitive Christians, it is said, "They continued steadfastly [1] in the apostles' doctrine and [2] fellowship, and [3] in breaking of bread, and [4] in prayers" (Act 2:42)—which at once indicates that they es teemed soundness in the Faith as of first importance; and were of a radically different spirit from those who are so indifferent to the fundamentals of Christi anity—who insinuate, if not openly say, "It matters little what a man believes if his life be good."

The relation between sound doctrine and godly deportment is like unto that between the bones and flesh of the body, or between the tree and the fruit which it bears: the latter cannot exist without the former. The first epistle of the New Testament exemplifies our remark: three-fourths of it is occupied with a laying down of the essentials of Christianity; ere the apostle shows what is the requi site for the adornment of the Christian character. The history of Christendom during the last four centuries strikingly illustrates our contention. Examine the writings of the Reformers, and what do you find? Why, that exposition of doc trine held the foremost place in their ministry: that was the light which God used to deliver so great a part of Europe from the popish ignorance and super stition which characterized "the dark ages"! The moral tendency upon the masses, and the spiritual blessings communicated to God's people by doctrinal preaching, appear in the time of the Puritans. Since that day—in proportion as the churches have departed from their doctrinal fidelity and zeal—has close walking with God, purity and uprightness before men, and morality in the masses declined."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Sufficiency of Scripture and the Gospel

New at Polemos
Sufficiency of Scripture
Evangelistic
Audio Links

An awesome presentation of the gospel message by Paul Washer from the SOS conference. Truly a must hear message:

The alternative to God’s law

"The alternative to God’s law is not no law at all, but human law; governments which do not guard the majesty of God and His righteous law have no alternative and choice but to uphold the majesty of their own human authority ... If no higher law is adhered to, then the law of man is absolute; there is no logical barrier to stop such a state from becoming totalitarian. When the state’s will is substituted for God’s will, then the only real crimes become crimes against the state (as in Imperial Rome, present day Russia, and much of the United States), for example, treason, defection, and so forth ... There is no appeal beyond the state and its rulers when God’s law is put aside; man has no realm of justice to which he has recourse in opposing the will of the state ... For Christians the choice is between a law order based on God or the potentially tyrannical oppression of a law order resting in the arbitrary will and power of the secular state."


- Greg Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics

there will be another life

"....since we see the pious laden with afflictions by the impious, stricken with unjust acts, overwhelmed with slanders, wounded with abuses and reproaches; while the wicked on the contrary flourish, are prosperous, obtain repose with dignity and that without punishment—we must straightway conclude that there will be another life in which iniquity is to have its punishment, and righteousness is to be given its reward. Furthermore, since we observe that believers are often chastised by the Lord's rods, we may with full assurance believe that one day the wicked must no less suffer his lash. Indeed, Augustine's remark is well known: "If now every sin were to suffer open punishment, it would seem that nothing is reserved for the final judgment. Again, if God were now to punish no sin openly, one would believe that there is no providence."

-John Calvin in the Institutes of the Christian Religion
(Book 1, Chapter 5)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sufficiency of Scripture for Culture and Aesthetics

New at Polemos
Sufficiency of Scripture
Audio Links

So how do we define "Aesthetics"? Is art just the self-expression of the artist? Is beauty just in the eye of the beholder? Or does God define Aesthetics? When Scripture tells us to do all to the glory of Christ, does that include the arts? Or are the arts a God-free zone defined by man? More importantly, why do we so rarely hear Christian teachers address such a subject as this? Probably because the church at large has entirely abandoned the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture.

A very interesting message on the Sufficiency of Scripture for Culture and Aesthetics from the SOS conference by Doug Phillips: 


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Scripture is Sufficient for Personal Evangelism

New at Polemos
Sufficiency of Scripture
Evangelism
Audio Links

Does God really love everybody and have a wonderful plan for their lives? Is that really the gospel message? Could you imagine Noah shouting such a trite slogan to the drowning masses outside of the Ark? In this message Paul Washer addresses this and many other Christian misconceptions of the glorious gospel of salvation. An awesome message on Evangelism and the sufficiency of Scripture:

Monday, May 9, 2011

His Wisdom Manifests His Excellence

"In no greater degree is his power or his wisdom hidden in darkness. His power shows itself clearly when the ferocity of the impious, in everyone's opinion unconquerable, is overcome in a moment, their arrogance vanquished, their strongest defenses destroyed, their javelins and armor shattered, their strength broken, their machinations overturned, and themselves fallen of their own weight; and when their audacity, which exalted them above heaven, lays them low even to the center of the earth; when, conversely the humble are raised up from the dust, and the needy are lifted up from the dung heap [Ps. 113:7]; the oppressed and afflicted are rescued from their extreme tribulation; the despairing are restored to good hope; the unarmed, few and weak, snatch victory from the armed, many and strong. Indeed, his wisdom manifests his excellence when he dispenses everything at the best opportunity; when he confounds all wisdom of the world [cf. I Cor. 1:20]; when "he catches the crafty in their own craftiness" [I Cor. 3:19 p.; cf. Job 5:13]. In short, there is nothing that he does not temper in the best way."

-John Calvin in the Institutes of the Christian Religion
(Book 1, Chapter 5)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saint Augustine; My Mother, Your Faithful One

“But You sent "thine hand from above" (Ps. 144:7) and drew my soul out of that profound darkness because my mother, Your faithful one, wept over me to You, more than mothers weep when their children die. She, by that faith and spirit which she had from You, discerned the death in which I Lay, and You heard her, Lord. You heard her and did not despise her tears when, streaming down, they watered the ground under her eyes in every place where she prayed.”

Saint Augustine as quoted in The Confessions of St. Augustine

Charles Spurgeon; The Instruc­tion of my Mother

"Fathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruc­tion of my mother; neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of "mother" is creation's blot. Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me. How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come? I thought her lips right eloquent; others might not think so, but they certainly were eloquent to me. How can I ever forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, "Oh, that my son might live before Thee!" Nor can her frown be effaced from my memory—that solemn, loving frown, when she rebuked my budding iniquities; and her smiles have never faded from my recollections— the beaming of her countenance when she rejoiced to see some good thing in me towards the Lord God of Israel."

-Charles Spurgeon as quoted in Charles Haddon Spurgeon Autobiography: The Early Years 1834-1860 Volume 1

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Sufficiency of Scripture for Church Discipline

New at Polemos
Sufficiency of Scripture
Church Discipline 
Audio Links

Some good teaching by Joe Morecraft on the subject of church discipline; one of the marks of a true church. Show me a church that doesn't practice church discipline and I'll show you a church that isn't a church:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Sufficiency of Scripture for the Laws of Nations

New at Polemos
Sufficiency of Scripture
Theonomy
Audio Links

A couple of excellent messages from the S.O.S. conference on the subject of Theonomy! How could the Church have gone so far astray from the Word of God in this area?



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Socialism: Society Coveting by way of Law

"The names for the society whereby men can covet everything that is their neighbor's may vary: socialism, communism, a welfare economy, rugged individualism, fascism, and national socialism are a few of the names common to history. Their goal is the same: under a facade of morality, a system is created to seize what is properly our neighbor's. Not surprisingly, such a system shows a general decline in morality. Theft, murder, adultery, and false witness all increase, because man is a unity. If he can legalize and "justify" seizing his neighbor's wealth or property, he will then legalize and justify taking his neighbor's wife."

-R.J. Rushdoony in Institutes of Biblical Law

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Sufficiency of Scripture for Worship

New at Polemos
Regulative Principle
Sufficiency of Scripture
Audio Links

A couple of fantastic messages by Joe Morecraft on the Regulative Principle of Worship in both the Old and New Testaments! If you're scratching your head and wondering what in the world the "Regulative Principle of Worship" is then you owe it to yourself, and more importantly your Creator, to listen to these messages:



Friday, April 29, 2011

Heavenly Providence and Fatherly Kindness

8. God's sovereign sway over the life of men

To this end, the prophet is mindful that in their desperate straits God suddenly and wonderfully and beyond all hope succors the poor and almost lost; those wandering through the desert he protects from wild beasts and at last guides them back to the way [Ps. 107:4-7]; to the needy and hungry he supplies food [v. 9]; the prisoners he frees from loathsome dungeons and iron bands [vs. 10-16]; the shipwrecked he leads back to port unharmed [vs. 23-30]; the half dead he cures of disease [vs. 17-20]; he burns the earth with heat and dryness, or makes it fertile with the secret watering of grace [vs. 33-38]; he raises up the humblest from the crowd, or casts down the lofty from the high level of their dignity [vs. 39-41]. By setting forth examples of this sort, the prophet shows that what are thought to be chance occurrences are just so many proofs of heavenly providence, especially of fatherly kindness. And hence ground for rejoicing is given to the godly, while as for the wicked and the reprobate, their mouths are stopped [v. 43]. But because most people, immersed in their own errors, are struck blind in such a dazzling theater, he exclaims that to weigh these works of God wisely is a matter of rare and singular wisdom [v. 43], in viewing which they who otherwise seem to be extremely acute profit nothing. And certainly however much the glory of Gdd shines forth, scarcely one man in a hundred is a true spectator of it!

-John Calvin in the Institutes of the Christian Religion
(Book 1, Chapter 5) 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dispensationalism: an Overview and Critique

New at Polemos
Dispensationalism
Audio Links

A good, fair, balanced critique of Dispensationalism for any who might be interested. The last part of the message was exceptionally good as pastor Martin covers the bad effects such doctrines can have in the lives of their adherents.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Man Before God's Majesty

"Hence that dread and wonder with which Scripture commonly represents the saints as stricken and overcome whenever they felt the presence of God. Thus it comes about that we see men who in His absence normally remained firm and constant, but who, when He manifests His glory, are so shaken and struck dumb as to be laid low by the dread of death -are in fact overwhelmed by it and almost annihilated. As a consequence, we must infer that man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God's majesty."

-John Calvin in the Institutes of the Christian Religion
(Book 1, Chapter 1)

An Imminent (Any Moment) Return?

An Imminent (Any Moment) Return?

In the late 1820s and early 1830s amidst the spiritual milieu of the 19th century a strange new group of teachings began to develop within the church and now, 170 years later, these teachings are everywhere. These teachings have come to be known as Dispensationalism.

One of the core beliefs of Dispensationalism which surfaced in the early 1800’s in association with the ministry of a man by the name of Edward Irving (amidst an outburst of “charismatic gifts”, such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing and some other more bizarre phenomena such as the “automatic writing” of Mary Campbell) was the teaching of a secret, invisible coming of Christ to take the church away from this earth at least seven years before His Second coming.

Dispensationalism teaches that this first Second Coming of Christ, the secret coming for His church, is “imminent”. The word imminent actually means “to project, threaten, ready to take place” or “to hang threateningly over ones head”.  When Dispensationalists use this word, however, they are usually saying something slightly different. Namely this; that this secret return of Christ could happen at any moment. It seems to be an undisputed fact among Dispensationalists that the writers of the New Testament taught that Christ could come back at any moment and that no prophesied events must take place before He can come back.

As a former Dispensationalist, my own thinking went something like this: since the Apostles taught that Christ could come back at any moment, then there could not be any prophesied events which must take place before He comes back. And if there are no prophesied events which must take place before Christ comes back to remove His church, and the tribulation (a seven year time of Gods wrath on the earth) is a prophesied event, then the tribulation must happen after the rapture (removal) of the church. And if the tribulation occurs after the rapture of the church, then the dispensational distinction between Israel and the church must be true, and therefore the doctrines of Dispensationalism must be the proper way to interpret Scripture.

There was only one problem with this logic, the apostles never taught that Christ could come back at any moment with no prophesied events occurring first! They could not have done so. The New Testament did not support such an idea of imminence at all. In fact, it demands some amount of time pass in which several events must take place. More than once it implies that this period of time would be somewhat lengthy. But I had heard it said so many times that the writers of the New Testament expected an “any moment” return of Christ that I never really stopped and examined this teaching at all. Some passages seemed to confirm this belief at first glance, so I just assumed that it was true.

But what does the New Testament actually say?

I found John 21:8-22 to be particularly devastating to my belief in the Dispensational view of the Rapture. In this passage Peter was told “by what death he would glorify God”. In verse 18, he is told that he would grow old and be crucified. This conversation was apparently well known to the early Christians, for the statement of Christ in verse 22 caused many of the brethren to believe that John would not die but live until the second coming (a fact which they were reading into Jesus’ words as John points out in verse 23).

It was a well known fact among the early church that Peter would grow old and be crucified! Therefore, they also knew that Jesus could not come back “at any moment” before this took place.

Consider the implications of this fact. It seems to be commonly agreed that Peter died sometime around 64 AD under the persecution of Nero, after most of the New Testament was already written! (67 AD. according to Charles Ryrie, a leading Dispensationalist, in his Introduction to 2nd Peter in the Ryrie Study Bible).

Paul’s last letter (2nd Timothy) was written about the same time Peter was put to death. (Ryrie dates the writing of 2 Timothy a year before Peter’s martyrdom). Think about that for a moment; Paul knew that Peter would grow old and be crucified and Paul most likely wrote all of his books before peter died, Paul, therefore, could not have taught anyone that Christ’s return could occur at any moment in any of his writings!
Neither could Peter have taught such a view of the “any moment” return of Christ for he knew that he would be dead before Christ would return.  In fact, it is commonly agreed that all of the New Testament, except for maybe John’s letters, were written before 65 AD and yet these are the very letters that are used to support the teaching of an any moment return!

But besides Peters death there were other time consuming events that were spoken of.

For instance, the Great Commission demands that some amount of time pass before the second coming. In Matthew 28:18-20, Christ tells his disciples to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. In Acts 1:8, Christ tells them that they would witness of Him in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and then to the ends of the earth!

In Acts 9:15, 16, Ananias is told that Paul must suffer many things and bear Christ’s name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. In Acts 22:21, Paul is told that he will be sent far away to the Gentiles. And in Acts 23:11, Paul is told that he must also bear witness in Rome just as he had in Jerusalem.

In Luke 21:6, 20-24, Jesus tells His disciples to flee from Jerusalem when they see it “surrounded by armies” because both Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed (an event which did not take place until 70 AD.!), the Jews would be led away captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem would be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled”! And again, in 2 Thessalonians 2, speaking of “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” (verse 1), Paul says that “that day will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of sin is revealed”.

In 2 Peter 3:3, shortly before his death (1:14), Peter tells his readers that “....there shall come in the last days scoffers walking after their own lust and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’ for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.

Peter says that these mockers “will come”, future tense! In the future they will come to the church and say “where is the promise of His coming”. In other words, they will mock Christians because they have been saying that Christ is coming back for so long, and He still hasn’t come back!

Why hasn’t Christ come back? Because God has a redemptive purpose and thousands of years of patience (3:8)! In fact, He has so much patience that we will be tempted to think that He is “slack concerning His promises” (3:9) but Peter warns us not to succumb to this temptation, but to remember that God is long suffering with us (3:9).

Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:1 that in the latter times some “will depart” (future tense) from the faith and in 2 Timothy 3:1 he says “that in the last days perilous times will come” (future tense). Does this sound like the words of a man expecting Christ to return at any second?

How can we possibly maintain that the New Testament writers believed that Christ could come back at any moment with no prophesied events which must take place first?

If we will look just a little further we will also see that many of Christ’s parables either imply or explicitly teach that a prolonged period of time must pass between the first and second coming.

In Matthew 13, Jesus explains the kingdom in parables to a group of people who were very confused as to what the kingdom would be like. They expected the kingdom to come suddenly, powerfully and gloriously. But Jesus explains that many who heard of the kingdom would turn away from it (verses 4, 19). Some would receive it with great joy but quickly abandon it (verse 5, 20, 21). Others would listen for a moment but then turn aside after worldly things (verse 7, 22). Not the glorious, powerful kingdom they were expecting!

It would start off small like a mustard seed (verse 31, 32), like a little leaven (verse 33) or like a treasure hid out in a field (verse 4), but it would grow into a large tree “so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches”. Like a little leaven, it would leaven the whole lump of dough (verse 33) and like a dragnet it would gather fish until it was full. These things imply some time.

In another parable in Matthew 24:48, 49, the evil servant says in his heart “my master is delaying his coming”, and begins to beat his fellow servants. In Matthew 25:5, ALL of the virgins fell asleep “while the bridegroom was delayed”. In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, the master gives out the talents and immediately goes on a journey (verse 15). Verse 19 tells us that “after a long time the Lord of those servants came and settled accounts”.

Many read the repeated warnings in these parables of Matthew 24 and 25 which say “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (24:42, 44, 50; 25:13) and they say “see, Christ is warning them of his ‘any moment’ return!” But the exact opposite is true.

In Luke 19, He tells the same basic parable as the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25 and note why he tells them this parable in verse 11 “He spoke another parable....because THEY THOUGHT THE KINGDOM OF GOD WOULD APPEAR IMMEDIATELY”. They had an “any moment” view of the kingdom and Christ in effect warns them that a great deal of time would pass and many would fall asleep waiting, while others would get tired of waiting and go out and beat their fellow servants and hang out with the drunkards.

In this context Christ is not warning us of His “any moment” return, but rather He is warning us not to fall asleep during His long absence! For those who get tired of watching and fall asleep, He will come upon them like a thief. They will be surprised and unprepared for His intrusion. But it is not so for the watching and waiting Christian. That day may “overtake” us but not “like a thief” (1 Thess. 5:4). Though we do not know the day nor the hour, we are told of many signs which signal that day’s approach and when we see these things begin to take place, we are told to “look up and lift up” our heads because our “redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). We will “see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25). But as time drags on we will be tempted to quit watching, so He warns us against this tendency but yet it seems that it has happened just as He said it would; many of the “wise virgins” have fallen asleep along with the foolish.

Brethren, if our definition of imminence equates it with “any momentness”, I believe we have made a mistake. Just because we are to watch for Christ’s return, long for His return and live in light of His return, it does not mean it can happen at any second. The apostles did not believe this and, as we saw, they could not have taught it, and if they did not teach it, we should not believe it.

If, however, our definition of imminence is that the Second Coming is “hanging over our heads”, that it and the events associated with it could come to pass very quickly, and that it looms very large on the horizon and will make all the other events in our lives pale in comparison, then I believe that we are in agreement with the Scriptures.

Just as the word imminent speaks of something which projects upward, ‘That Day” towers above all others. Every other “day” stands in its shadows and points to it. Every other “day” that comes to us should remind us that “That Day” is also coming quickly. In this sense the return of Christ is truly imminent.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Lord's Day Sabbath: 4/24/11

The Overthrow of Satan


THE wisdom of God greatly and remarkably appears in so exceedingly baffling and compounding all the subtlety of the old serpent. Power never appears so conspicuous as when opposed and conquering opposition. The same may be said of wisdom. It never appears so brightly, and with such advantage, as when opposed by the subtlety of some very crafty enemy, and in baffling and confounding that subtlety. — The devil is exceeding subtle. The subtlety of the serpent is emblematical of his, Gen. 3:1. He was once one of the brightest intelligences of heaven, and one of the brightest, if not the very brightest, of all. And all the devils were once morning stars, of a glorious brightness of understanding. They still have the same faculties, though they ceased to be influenced and guided by the Holy Spirit of God. And so their heavenly wisdom is turned into hellish craft and subtlety. — God in the work of redemption has wondrously baffled the utmost craft of the devils, and though they are all combined to frustrate God’s designs of glory to himself, and goodness to men. — The wisdom of God appears very glorious herein. For... Read More.....